Posted on March 9, 2016

Angry White Males Propel Donald Trump–and Bernie Sanders

Gerald F. Seib, Wall Street Journal, March 8, 2016

Tuesday’s primary elections underscored an emerging, central reality of the 2016 presidential campaign: This is the year of the angry white male.

Those white males are the voters who propelled Donald Trump to convincing victories Tuesday in Michigan and Mississippi, as they have elsewhere. And they may determine whether he can roll on next week in a series of big industrial states.

Here’s what is less noticed: Dissatisfied white males also helped propel Sen. Bernie Sanders to a stunning victory over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic contest in Michigan, and may keep him in the game for many weeks to come.

All of this further suggests they may be the swing voters who decide the general election in November, when the critical question could well be whether Democrats can win enough of them to supplement their big advantages among women and minority voters.

{snip} In Michigan, 52% of the Republican primary electorate was male, exit polls indicated. Mr. Trump won them going away, 43% to 23% for Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Meantime, he lost among women, 30% for Sen. Ted Cruz to 28% for Mr. Trump.

The story was similar in Mississippi. Mr. Trump won men by 20 percentage points, exit polls indicated. There, he won women, but by a mere 9 percentage points.


In Mississippi, 41% of Republicans described their feelings toward the federal government as “angry”–and Mr. Trump won a whopping 57% of them. Meanwhile in Michigan, 32% of Republican voters said they were angry at the federal government, and Mr. Trump won 48% of them, compared with 24% for Mr. Cruz.


When voters were asked in Michigan whether trade with other countries creates jobs or takes away jobs, just over half of GOP respondents said it takes away jobs–this is in the Republican Party that once was the bastion of strong belief in free trade. And among those who see trade as a job killer, Mr. Trump won going away, 42% to 23% for Mr. Cruz.


Together, in other words, Messrs. Trump and Sanders are collapsing what had become, in the 1990s, something of a bipartisan consensus in favor of free trade. And angry white males, many of whom feel trade has marginalized their jobs and prospects, are leading the way.


{snip} In a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, Mrs. Clinton beats Mr. Trump in a hypothetical general-election matchup, 51% to 38%. But among white men? He wins comfortably, 53% to 35%.